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Ratios - should they apply ALL the time?

(14 Posts)
anotherdayyetanothernickname Thu 07-Aug-08 12:37:08

At ds's nursery when it's picking up and dropping off time the Ofsted ratios are not kept to because staff have to go out of the room to open the door almost constantly.

This morning at breakfast there were 8 2 and 3 year olds and 1 staff member as the other one had left the room. About half the kids were 2 and half 3 so that's under the ratio.

There were clearly not enough staff to welcome the kids, sort out breakfast etc.

I've suggested tothe nursery that they just hire someone to come in an hour early who would normally start their shift at say 9 to man the door (one of the normal staff so they'd know the parents for security reasons). They haven't done this yet.

So my question - do the ratios need to be adhered to ALL the time?

HandbagAddiction Thu 07-Aug-08 13:12:24

Tricky one as the ratio for 2 years olds is 1 to 4 and the ratio for 3 year olds in actually 1 to 8 so it would make difficult to get right.

Not sure what OFSTED would say though...

anotherdayyetanothernickname Thu 07-Aug-08 13:22:50

But if there are 8 kids and any of them are under three and only 1 member of staff in the room surely that is under the ratios?

Bubble99 Thu 07-Aug-08 19:19:41

The staff need to be on duty to be in ratio, ie. not on a break.

A group of children should never be left alone but can be left with another staff member for temporary absences like changing a nappy or getting plates or extra cutlery from the kitchen.

I do understand the door thing in the morning at nurseries, though. What should be a 'temporary' absence from the room can end up as one staff member manning the door for half an hour with few chances to get back into the room due to a constant flow of arrivals/departures.

Were there only two staff on duty in total at the nursery this morning?

anotherdayyetanothernickname Thu 07-Aug-08 19:23:22

No there were more but the children are split into rooms by age group and so there were only the two in that room and one was missing due to door opening.

So where does the door opening thing sit with this - does that person count or not if they are leaving the room a lot?

Bubble99 Thu 07-Aug-08 19:29:39

At our nursery all of the children and staff are together in one (the largest) room for the first half an hour until the 8.30am staff arrive, when they then split into their own rooms.

No problem as far as OFSTED are concerned and it means that there are enough staff around to safely allow one staff member to get the door.

Might be worth suggesting this?

Bubble99 Thu 07-Aug-08 19:34:39

Also good as children of different ages get to be together for a while, other than in the garden.

Bubble99 Thu 07-Aug-08 19:48:48

Well they are on duty hmm but I don't think permanent door opening can be classed as a temporary child-related activity. So I think it's perfectly reasonable for you to ask for something to be done about it.

BTW, I have seen the 'on duty' rule abused in other nurseries. A manager, for example, counted into staff/child ratios but holed-up in the office for the entire morning on the phone.

anotherdayyetanothernickname Thu 07-Aug-08 20:29:27

To be fair it's semi-permanent door opening! Would that still be dodgy?

Bubble99 Thu 07-Aug-08 21:24:42

It's one of those grey-area type things, I suppose.

Best practice (hate that term, BTW!) would be for there to be an additional member of staff to cover the door - but as far as OFSTED would be concerned, the fact that the staff member is on duty and is managing to be in the room between doorbells would mean that the nursery is sticking to the rules.

Poohbah Thu 07-Aug-08 21:57:27

At DS' nursery they have security cards so we open the door and are greeted by a member of staff and there always seem enough staff to maintain ratios, i think it's worth giving Ofstead a ring.

Bubble99 Thu 07-Aug-08 22:32:55

I think it would be better to talk to the nursery before phoning OFSTED.

I would be very P'd off if one of our parents phoned OFSTED without even talking to us first. Unless it was for something horrendous, of course.

If you're talking about phoning OFSTED for guidance, forget it. Their 'help' line is notoriously useless. You can phone and speak to three different people on the same subject and get three different sets of 'advice'.

anotherdayyetanothernickname Thu 07-Aug-08 23:11:43

Agree - I wouldn't phone Ofsted for something like this which is a bit borderline.

I have already mentioned the issue to the management of the nursery and suggested the idea of a door duty person in the morning but they've not done anything yet.

It's annoying as the time where you need to get your child settled with a staff member at drop off is the time when you need more staff not fewer.

nurseryvoice Fri 08-Aug-08 06:53:18

We have 3 x staff on duty from 0730
All the under fives go into one room with 1 x staff (always in ratio)
1 x sets up and does jogs
1 x mans the kids club which is next to the door and she answers the door
when the 0 - 5 gets over ratio she gets the "job person" to help her.
from 0800 I the manager or my deputy man the reception desk for an hour, this is good because parents can discuss problems and ask questions.
on a night I also man the door between 4-530
when it is busy then I lock the door and parents ring by this time most children have gone home.
Def have a word I would not be happy what would happen if there was an accident?

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